Nearly a month after stepping down from hosting the Oscars after his homophobic tweets resurfaced, Kevin Hart went on Ellen to discuss his decision and defend himself, while DeGeneres insisted that he should in fact still host the awards show. DeGeneres shared the first part of the interview, which was originally scheduled to air Monday, online late Thursday night, tweeting, “I believe in forgiveness.”
In that clip, Hart describes confronting “an onslaught on social media of my past” the day after he was announced as a host. Hart insisted that he had addressed and apologized for homophobic jokes in the past and did not feel an obligation to apologize again. “Nobody’s finding the apologies,” Hart said. “Nobody’s finding the footage from where I had to address it.” Hart pointed to interviews he did during Get Hard press in 2015 (he said of the homophobic jokes in that film, “funny is funny”) and a “very heavy junket” he did in 2012 for evidence of his past apologies. (Although, Hart may be conflating the Get Hard promo in 2015 and that junket, as it doesn’t appear he discussed his tweets in 2012.) Hart also joked about how he hoped his son would not grow up to be gay in a 2015 Rolling Stone article where he said he would not make jokes like that again, though did not directly apologize, and did apologize for his tweets when stepping down from the Oscars. “I’m sorry if these words hurt,” Hart said on Ellen, also adding, “I don’t joke like that because that was wrong.”
In a second clip, which DeGeneres released Friday morning, she steps in to defend Hart and to insist that he should still host the awards show. “There are so many haters out there, whatever is going on on the internet don’t pay attention to them. We are a huge group of people that love you and want to see you host the Oscars,” DeGeneres said to applause. As the conversation continues, Hart describes the resurfacing of his tweets as “an attack” because they “somehow manifested from 2008” and someone must have read through thousands of them to find them. “That’s an attack to end me,” he said, referring to the “trolls” online. To that, DeGeneres insisted that “they’re going to win if you don’t host the Oscars,” and added that she knows the Academy still does not have a host, and is praying that he changes his mind.
Update, January 5: Hart is now seemingly defending his divisive words on Ellen with an Instagram post, which features a screenshot of a very long, very confusing metaphor about learning things. “When did we get to the point where we forgot that we all learn, then we all have the ability to grow and with that growth comes a wealth of knowledge,” he wrote as his caption. “You can’t change without a understanding of what growth means.”